Home Births Are on the Rise: Here's Why I Had One

I had my second (and last) baby in my bathroom while standing at my sink, cursing, well, like a mother. Yes, I’m one of those. I had a home birth. I needed a home birth because my first son came so fast that we never made it to our intended hospital. I had no desire to go through another labor with a baby crowning in the back of the Volvo.
I’m not a hippie. I didn’t chant or have an orgasm (sadly) while passing an almost-8-pounder out my vagina. I didn’t have a birthing tub and I wasn’t naked (everyone asks). And, like a whole lot of homebirthers, I wasn’t influenced by Ricki Lake’s 2008 must-watch doc The Business of Being Born. In fact, before that movie even had a chance to make an impact, the rate of home births in the U.S. increased by 20 percent, according to a new study published in the journal, Birth: Issues in Perinatal Care.

According to researchers there has been a slow decline of out-of-hospital births from 1990 to 2004, but from 2004 to 2008, the rates steadily eeked up. Yeah, the vast majority of women in the U.S. are still pushing their babies out in hospitals, but the fact that 28,357 -- or almost 1 percent of -- American women did it at home in 2008 is significant.

I’m no statistician (or doctor or expert), but my guess is that today, three years after Ricki Lake's film, the numbers are even higher. And that makes me happy. I’m happy that there’s a choice out there to birth your baby how you want. I’m happy, despite the fact that The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists wags its disapproving finger at home birth. They say it’s dangerous.

Of course, the same new study found that the home birth risk is declining, with a substantial dip in the number of babes borns at home who are preterm. I didn’t think I was doing anything particularly risky. There was no bungee jumping happening. I simply had a baby in my home with the help of a trained midwife. I’m infinitely grateful I was allowed to do that. It’s wonderful news that more and more women are comfortable making that decision, too.

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